Another US visit to Taiwan sparks military response from Beijing . . .
A bipartisan delegation of five members of the U.S. Congress visited Taiwan on August 14 and 15, twelve days after Nancy Pelosi’s visit. The delegation met with Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen on Monday and with the Parliament's Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee to discuss security and trade-related issues. Taiwan’s foreign ministry welcomed the visit as a sign of friendship between Taipei and Washington. However, Beijing criticized the trip as interfering in China’s internal affairs and responded by conducting more military drills near Taiwan, sending aircraft past the Taiwan Strait median line, and sanctioning key Taiwanese politicians.
New Chinese white paper on Taiwan . . .
On Wednesday last week, China's State Council released a new white paper on Taiwan, outlining Beijing’s approach to Taiwan under the “new era” of President Xi Jinping’s leadership, and serves as an update to previous white papers on Taiwan issued in 1993 and 2000. The paper repeats that Taiwan is part of China and that it is China’s historic mission to “resolv[e] the Taiwan question and realiz[e] China’s complete reunification”. The paper then highlights that peaceful reunification must be achieved under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework, claiming that the model succeeded in Hong Kong.
A clash of frontiers . . .
The recent U.S. official delegations visiting Taiwan and China’s response have shaken the already delicate status quo in the Taiwan Strait. Chinese approach to reunification, combined with the recent comments by both China’s ambassadors to France and Australia about the need to “re-educate” the Taiwanese people to ensure they “have a correct understanding of China about the motherland”, clashes with Taiwan's vision for its future. For example, a recent poll show that only 6.5 per cent of Taiwanese favour unification with China, while 57 per cent favour the status quo, and 25 per cent favour independence. While many experts have highlighted Beijing’s restraint in its military response to the recent official visits, these events have demonstrated how deep the stalemate is between Taiwan, China, and the U.S., and how dangerous the situation could become.